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Peo changes course, apologizes to Lupien 

click to enlarge City Councilmember Jose Peo, left, taking the oath of office. City Councilmember Mary Lupien at a news conferene.

FILE PHOTOS

City Councilmember Jose Peo, left, taking the oath of office. City Councilmember Mary Lupien at a news conferene.

Rochester City Councilmember Jose Peo on Wednesday issued a public apology to his colleague, fellow city lawmaker Mary Lupien, for lewd comments that were made about her earlier this month on Peo's podcast.

Peo came under fire this week when CITY reported on a segment of his podcast, "Politically Correcting with Jose Peo," in which a co-host of the show suggested that Lupien would have sex with him and pondered whether she would wear a facemask while submitting to a sex act.
click to enlarge Rochester City Council member Jose Peo. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester City Council member Jose Peo.

The co-host, Lavelle Lewis, never referred to Lupien by name, but it was made clear to whom he was referring when Peo chimed in and identified her. At one point, Peo  egged on Lewis to take his vulgarity further.

The podcast aired June 15 and was recorded.

RELATED: City lawmaker Jose Peo shrugs off sexual remarks about colleague on podcast.

In a written statement Peo, a first-term councilmember representing the city’s northwest district, said he has apologized and taken accountability for the segment.

“Councilman Jose Peo has taken accountability and apologizes to Councilmember Lupien for not ending the lewdness of his cohost in a 90 minute Politically Correcting Podcast from 14 days ago,” Peo wrote. “But a simple apology means nothing when your actions don’t change, and that is what he will do on his podcast, starting immediately.”
click to enlarge City Council Vice President Mary Lupien. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • City Council Vice President Mary Lupien.

The statement also alluded to "historical friction" between Lewis and Lupien, but did not provide specifics.

Peo added that he would no longer sit for interviews with local media outlets, which picked up the story, and that he would address the matter on the next episode of his podcast, which is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Lupien, the vice president of the City Council, did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Peo's apology followed a day of his publicly refusing in interviews and on his social media accounts to express regret or take responsibility for what was said on his podcast.

"I'm certainly not apologizing for what someone else said on my podcast," he wrote on Twitter on Monday. " She's (Lupien) also of the group who states they're independent, empowered women who don't need a man, so... time to practice what they preach #ManUp."
But news of the comments made on the podcast sparked widespread condemnation from across the local political community, with some calling for Peo to resign or be censured by City Council.

Council President Miguel Melendez said Monday that he was exploring options on how best to deal with the situation. While it was unclear what actions Council could make, Melendez said he was seeking some sort of “restorative” measure.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.
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